Price Above Rubies, A

MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +2 1/2

Content: -2

An orthodox Hasidic Jewish family in New York City is baffled by the rebellious young wife of the devout Mendel Horowitz (Glenn Fitzgerald). Family is more than children and parents -- the rabbi, aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents are always hovering over each other. But Sonia (Renee Zellweger) doesn't fit into that mold. Although Jewish, she is also an expert jeweler, a trade she learned from her father. She and Mendel have a baby and the more Mendel prays instead of talking to her, the more claustrophobic Sonia becomes. Then Mendel's sleazy brother, Sender (Christopher Eccleston) offers her a job as buyer for his jewelry store and as his mistress. Soon Sonia's bargaining talents earn her respect in the jewelry market. Too late, Mendel realizes his marriage is in shambles, and Sonia realizes she has traded one form of bondage, marriage, for another as Sender's mistress. This young woman's search for her identity takes her down a winding dark path. A PRICE ABOVE RUBIES is beautifully acted, but the serious drama may be too depressing for most.

Sonia admits to a rabbi marriage counselor that her suppressed passion for physical love is made unbearable because of Mendel's belief that sex is strictly a religious experience, which is illustrated in a bedroom scene. Later there are two almost brutal graphic sex scenes between Sonia and Sender. No nudity is shown in any of these, however. Implied sex between the very old rabbi marriage counselor and his wife brings on a fatal heart attack for him. A Puerto Rican artist's primitive studio has many nude statues and paintings, and a man and woman posing nude together shows brief full frontal, breast and rear nudity. Sonia's anger towards her husband and religion almost consumes her. She exclaims, "I have no soul, or if I do, God didn't give it me." She finds out how expensive her freedom to pursue a new life is when she is forced to give up her son. Along with these moral and religious issues of infidelity, responsibility, faith and forgiveness, the dialogue is seasoned with several obscenities, a few profanities and crudities. The graphic sex scenes and nudity are gratuitous, but Sonia's rebellious, immoral behavior is portrayed as a sickness which causes much grief and suffering.

Preview Reviewer: Mary Draughon
Miramax Films, 375 Greenwich, NY, NY 10013

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Few (4) times - Mild 2, Moderate 2

Obscene Language: Several (5) times (f-word 1, s-word 3, other 1)

Profanity: Few (4) times - Regular 3 (J 2, G 1), Exclamatory 1

Violence: None

Sex: Several times (married couple, no nudity; graphic twice without nudity between illicit lovers); implied twice (woman and artist in bed together)

Nudity: Once (female breast, brief frontal nudity of male and female models)

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Few times (married woman expresses sexual frustration; elderly man dies after sex)

Drugs: Some wine drinking

Other: Brief childbirth scene, baby circumcised off-camera, orthodox Jewish family portrayed as over-bearing; husband uses religion to avoid intimacy; wife sacrifices child for personal freedom

Running Time: 116 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

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